June’s jazz, hu­mour and drama

The Tribune (NZ) - - ENJOY - Mal­colm Hop­wood

I loved The Goon Show.

As a young­ster grow­ing up in Can­ter­bury, I adored Sun­day nights. The Goon Show was broad­cast on ei­ther 3ZB or 3YA and, the fol­low­ing day, at school, we im­i­tated Ec­cles or Blue­bot­tle or Neddy Sea­goon.

Now 60 years later it’s be­ing rein­car­nated in Palmer­ston North.

Ac­tor and teacher Ken Benn has se­cured the BBC rights to four episodes of The Goon

Show and, to­gether with two act­ing col­leagues, he’ll recreate them on stage at the end of next month.

One episode, The Tallest Moun­tain In the World, has spe­cial sig­nif­i­cance for New Zealand as it pokes fun at colo­nial Ed Hil­lary who reached the top of Ever­est ahead of any Brits. His ‘ed’ for heights was bet­ter than any­one else’s.

The Goon Show was made for ra­dio, not tele­vi­sion. You had to use your imag­i­na­tion. It was recorded be­fore a live au­di­ence and the peo­ple who at­tend the per­for­mances at the Speirs Cen­tre will be­come that au­di­ence as the three ac­tors im­per­son­ate Spike Mil­li­gan, Harry Se­combe and Peter Sell­ers.

Ge­orge Or­well was also very Bri­tish. His nov­els, An­i­mal Farm and 1984, are satir­i­cal po­lit­i­cal com­men­taries, cre­at­ing imag­i­nary worlds that are com­pletely con­vinc­ing and be­com­ing more real as our cen­tury pro­gresses.

Manawatu The­atre is giv­ing us a chance to ex­pe­ri­ence the chill and re­pres­sion of Or­well’s novel 1984 through a stage adap­ta­tion. In it the cen­tral char­ac­ter, Win­ston Smith, is forced, with the help of four party mem­bers, to con­fess his ‘‘thought-crimes’’ be­fore an un­seen in­quisi­tor and the au­di­ence who act as a silent wit­ness.

The play, di­rected by Scott An­drew, runs at The Globe from June 16 to July 1. It will be thought pro­vok­ing and ab­sorb the au­di­ence who are both par­tic­i­pants in and wit­nesses of what’s hap­pen­ing.

1984 will ap­peal to an au­di­ence for whom the novel was a set text and to a new gen­er­a­tion grap­pling with the ex­tent of vi­o­lence and sur­veil­lance in the world to­day.

The 50th Manawatu Jazz Fes­ti­val has be­gun through the spon­ta­neous cafe scene con­certs and cul­mi­nates this week with stand­out per­for­mances ev­ery night. The jewel in the crown will be the Jazz Gala fea­tur­ing four US jazz leg­ends on Satur­day June 3 at the Re­gent on Broad­way.

Cre­ative Di­rec­tor Rodger Fox has at­tracted Dave Weckl, Tony Lind­say, Adam Shroeder and Alex Sip­i­a­gin to New Zealand and is cur­rently fea­tur­ing them in North Is­land fes­ti­vals cul­mi­nat­ing in the Jazz Gala on Satur­day night.

It will be a great mo­ment when all four come to­gether with Rodger and his big band on the Re­gent stage to cel­e­brate 50 fes­ti­vals. Pro­ceeds from the Jazz Gala se­ries will go to­wards helping to get Rodger and his mu­si­cians to the 60th Mon­terey Jazz Fes­ti­val in Septem­ber.

Make sure you book a seat to these won­der­ful fes­ti­val events.

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